The history of the Nacho – the word and the snack


I went today to http://www.etymonline.com This site is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.

I selected the letter “n” and pretty much closed my eyes and pointed.  My cursor hit  nacho.
According to “The Dallas Morning News” Oct. 22, 1995], named for restaurant cook Ignacio Anaya, who invented the dish in the Mexican border town of Piedras Negras in 1943.

Then I went to Wikipedia.com  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nachos
Nachos originated in the city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, just over the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, at a restaurant called the Victory Club, owned by Rodolfo De Los Santos. One day in 1943, the wives of ten to twelve U.S. soldiers stationed at Fort Duncan in nearby Eagle Pass were in Piedras Negras on a shopping trip, and arrived at the restaurant after it had closed for the day. The maître d’, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, invented a new snack for them with what little he had available in the kitchen: tortillas and cheese. Anaya cut the tortillas into triangles, added longhorn cheddar cheese, quickly heated them, and added sliced jalapeño peppers. He served the dish, calling it Nacho’s especiales – meaning something like “Nacho’s special dish” in English.
Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe. He also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras. Anaya’s original recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.
The popularity of the dish quickly spread throughout Texas. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texas. Waitress Carmen Rocha is credited with introducing the dish to Los Angeles at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959.
A modified version of the dish, with permanently soft cheese and pre-made tortilla chips, was marketed by a man named Frank Liberto beginning in 1977, during sporting events at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. During a Monday Night Football game, sportscaster Howard Cosell enjoyed the name “nachos”, and made a point of mentioning the dish in his broadcasts over the following weeks, further popularizing it and introducing it to a whole new audience.
Ignacio Anaya died in 1975. In his honor, a bronze plaque was erected in Piedras Negras, and October 21 was declared the International Day of the Nacho. Anaya’s son Ignacio Anaya Jr. serves as a judge at the annual nacho competition.
pecial dish” in English.
Anaya went on to work at the Moderno Restaurant in Piedras Negras, which still uses the original recipe. He also opened his own restaurant, “Nacho’s Restaurant”, in Piedras Negras. Anaya’s original recipe was printed in the 1954 St. Anne’s Cookbook.
The popularity of the dish quickly spread throughout Texas. The first known appearance of the word “nachos” in English dates to 1949, from the book A Taste of Texas. Waitress Carmen Rocha is credited with introducing the dish to Los Angeles at El Cholo Mexican restaurant in 1959.
A modified version of the dish, with permanently soft cheese and pre-made tortilla chips, was marketed by a man named Frank Liberto beginning in 1977, during sporting events at Arlington Stadium in Arlington, Texas. During a Monday Night Football game, sportscaster Howard Cosell enjoyed the name “nachos”, and made a point of mentioning the dish in his broadcasts over the following weeks, further popularizing it and introducing it to a whole new audience.
Ignacio Anaya died in 1975. In his honor, a bronze plaque was erected in Piedras Negras, and October 21 was declared the International Day of the Nacho. Anaya’s son Ignacio Anaya Jr. serves as a judge at the annual nacho competition.

Is French related to Irish? Is that is why I can’t figure out how to pronounce either.


After the Irish name I posted yesterday – Aoibheann, pronounced EE-Van – I got to  wondering if Irish might be related to French (since I have a hard time figuring out how to pronounce words in either language.) I read this on a Yahoo answers posted by a user named Brennus. at
I haven’t researched it further yet so don’t take it as gospel truth.  I will post again when I have looked into the idea further but for now, it is an interesting concept.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080829104328AA7ul1B
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There is a tenuous relationship between the two languages because Irish is a Celtic (or more accurately Neo-Celtic) language and French is a Romance language with a Celtic substratum inherited from the Ancient Gauls who spoke a Celtic language. There also appears to be a Celtic substratum in Dutch which also comes from the Ancient Gauls. This gives French a flavor different from the other Romance languages, and Dutch a flavor different from German spoken just across the Rhine.
Some linguists claim that the tendency of French to palatalize a lot as in the change of Vulgar Latin “caballus.” “castillum,” “cattus” and carita to cheval, château, chat and cherie is a carry-over from Celtic. Palatalization is quite common in Gaelic too. For example, Latin ecclesia “church” and scribere “to write” was borrowed into Irish as eaglais (pronounced ogg-lush) and sgríobh (pronounced shgreev).
The nasal sounds in French are probably a carry-over from Celtic too as they did not exist in Latin are not found in Italian either. I remember that Welsh actor Richard Burton once said of Welsh, a Neo-Celtic language, that it could out-nasalize French and out-gutteralize German. Nasalaization also occurs in Irish in a process known as “eclepsis” as in capall “horse” but don gcapall “for the horse” and bád “boat” but don mbád “to the boat.”
There are a few words of Gallic origin in French that have unmistakable counterparts in Modern Irish like 1) barrière “barrier” cf. Irish barr “top/ summit,” 2) briser “to break” cf. Irish brisim “to break, 3)chemin “road,” cf. Irish céim “step”, ” 4) lande “heath / moor” cf. Irish lann “land / holy ground,” 5) ruisseau “stream” cf. Irish sruth; Welsh ffrwydd “stream,” and 6) ruche “beehive” which corresponds to Breton ruskenn “beehive” and to Irish rusc “bark.”
One must keep in mind , however, that despite numerous miscellaneous links between French and the Celtic languages, French is still Romanized enough to be classified as a “Romance” language rather than a “Celtic” language.